Can German Shepherds Be Hunting Dogs?

German Shepherds are loyal, strong, intelligent dogs with all the qualities that you associate with hunting dogs. But can German Shepherds be hunting dogs? Let us find out!

Since time immemorial, dogs have been man’s best friend and a loyal companion and German Shepherds are one of them. They are intelligent, strong, fast learners, protective, loyal, and a very obedient breed of dogs. German Shepherds were bred specifically for their intelligence.

But are they hunting dogs? The German Shepherd or the German Shepherds Dog, also known as the Alsatian, is a German breed of working dog. They are by no means typical hunting dogs. 

Can German Shepherds Be Hunting Dogs

German Shepherds were originally bred as herding dogs, for herding sheep or folks. German Shepherds are also used for other purposes such as search and rescue programs, police work, and warfare. 

Dog breeds such as Labrador Retriever, Bloodhound, Boykin Spaniel are perfect hunting companions. But unlike others such as Rottweilers or Beagles, German Shepherds can be taught and trained. German Shepherds are fast learners and if trained from a young age, they can be good hunting dogs.

What Makes a Hunting Dog?

In order to be a good hunting dog, a dog needs to be “extra”. There needs to be something to set them away from normal pets. 


First and foremost, the sense of smell should be strong. A dog with the strongest sense of smell is best suited for hunting as it can trace its prey from a long distance. 

Sense of Smell

While all dogs have an amazing sense of smell, some dogs are more gifted than others. Hunting requires an ability to fish out game from the remotest of locations, so a hunting dog needs to be gifted with an extremely good sense of smell.


A hunting dog should have great stamina as it has to run a long distance to trace its prey. 

Hence the dog needs to be in good shape and health so it won’t get tired in covering miles while hunting which is often the case. 

Can German Shepherds Be Hunting Dogs

Quick Reflexes

To be a Hunting Dog, they should have a quick reflex so that it can change its direction quickly as per the requirement. Quick reflex comes in handy when chasing prey.


The next very important trait to look for in a hunting dog is intelligence. Every dog breed is smart but a hunting dog must have a higher level of intelligence. This helps them to make quick decisions and get the job done. It is also easy for them to understand the command of its owner. 


A hunting dog also needs to be patient and calm. It should not be the one that barks loudly and scares the prey. 

Emotional Intelligence

A great advantage of a dog with high emotional intelligence is that it helps improve communication with the dog owner. 

It’s no secret that dogs are emotional animals and they show their emotions by wiggling their tails or whimpering, but not all dogs are equally emotionally intelligent. There needs to be a strong emotional connection between the dog and its owner.  

Can German Shepherds Be Trained as Hunting Dogs?

Yes, with the right training they can.

German Shepherds are smart and easy to train. This herding breed is known for its courage, loyalty, and active nature. They make excellent police dogs and military dogs. They also do heroic acts in search and rescue operations. 

Can German Shepherds Be Hunting Dogs

Due to their strong sense of smell, they are also used in searching for drugs and other narcotics. If properly trained from a young age, German Shepherds possess all qualities required to be a good hunting dog. 

They have a strong sense of smell, are receptive to training, are fast runners, enjoy being active and love to be involved in sports, are very obedient, and are best companions to humans. Hence, even if they are not officially hunting dogs, they can be trained to be fine ones.

What is involved in training a German Shepherd as a hunting dog?

Here are some important things to remember when training a German Shepherd as a hunting dog:

Start Young: 

Training of a German Shepherd to be a hunting dog should start from its puppy stage. While training a dog to be a hunting dog, one should keep in mind that it takes a lot of practice and requires time for a dog to be able to hunt in different landscapes and scenarios. So one needs to be patient with the training and the dog. 

Socializing is important

Before going out to hunt with the furry companion, one needs to train it. The dog should be introduced to other people and hence it should be socialized.

German Shepherds are especially not very social and become aggressive if brought into the company of strangers. Therefore it is important to socialize the dog with new people if one wants to go hunting in groups.

Can German Shepherds Be Hunting Dogs

Auditory training has to be a focus

They need to be made familiar and comfortable with gunshots. Loud noises scare the dog and therefore it becomes necessary to introduce them to it. Gunshots help them to understand the signal that it is time to run and fetch the game. 

Teaching to adjust

A hunting dog should be trained properly to fit in different situations. Dogs are natural swimmers and if not they should be taught so. It helps in situations when the prey is in water or one has to hunt a fish or a duck. The dog should also be involved in proper physical exercise and running activity. It should be trained for zig-zag running which helps to catch the game faster.

Communication is key

Obedience training is a must for a hunting dog as it is required in the field while hunting. It helps in better communication and understanding to both parties.

Before taking the dog for actual hunting, fake scenarios should be set up to test the dog’s capability and also to make it more comfortable for the actual work. 

Why Is It Good For Your German Shepherds If You Train It As A Hunting Dog?

German Shepherds are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. These brain beauties are celebrated for their balance of power and grace. This breed is one of the finest dog breeds and no doubt to be the strongest.  They yearn to use this strength, and hunting might be a good opportunity for that.

Can German Shepherds Be Hunting Dogs

German Shepherds are also one the best human companions who are loyal and very protective. So in times of danger, they will not leave the side of their humans and will protect them with their lives. 

This one reason explains why German Shepherds should be trained as hunting dogs.. also having a hunting dog increases the chances of catching the prey. 

Having a hunting dog helps in finding and tracing prey easily as they have a good sense of smell. They can also catch prey in rough terrain where food is hard to find. Having a hunting dog expands the chance of prey hunting due to their heightened sense

German Shepherds are a working dog breed and they love working which is their natural instinct. They love being active and enjoy excesses and sports. So using them as hunting dogs is more like satisfying them and making them use their energy to its full capacity. Also, they have all the necessary traits required to be a hunting dog and just not another but a fine one. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What two dogs make a German shepherd?

German Shepherds were originally a cross-breed of working sheepdogs. They get their name from this breed, which was historically found in Germany. Over time, they became the priority dogs for police and military work.

What are the best-hunting dogs?

Some of the best breeds of hunting dogs are Labrador retriever, Coonhounds, and English Springer spaniel. 

Can German shepherds kill?

Yes, if they are attacked or perceive danger, they can kill

German Shepherds are really fast canines, mainly trained for military exercises. So they are not new to taking down suspicious individuals when the need comes. While they are really fun-loving dogs and great with people, they can definitely kill if attacked or see their bonded people attacked.

Why German Shepherds bite their owners?

German Shepherds are usually one of the most loving dogs towards their human companions. They are extremely protective and loyal. So if a German Shepherd attacks or bites its owners, it is usually because they feel threatened by something.

Can a German Shepherd beat a wolf?

Yes, they can beat wolves.

German Shepherds are originally shepherd dogs who are known for warding off wolves. Although there have been years of evolution, there is a chance a German Shepherds can still confront, and beat wolves.

A Few Final Words

To summarize, German shepherds are not hunting dogs, but they possess all the qualities and can be trained from a young age for this purpose. It can be a great new experience for them.

Thank you for reading, we hope we were able to answer your query. You might also like to read: How To Duck Hunt Without A Dog?